Urugu-Eye

the last matinee 2020

THE LAST MATINEE

3.5 Stars  2020/18/88m

A.k.a. Bloody Matinee

“No talking. No texting. No breathing.”

Director/Writer: Max Contenti / Writer: Manuel Facal / Cast: Luciana Grasso, Julieta Spinelli, Ricardo Islas, Patricia Porzio, Emanuel Sobre, Franco Duran, Pedro Duarte, Bruno Salvatti, Vladimir Knazevs, Daiana Carigi.

Body Count: 9


Hopefully Uruguay will forgive me for the first thing that comes to mind when I think of the nation being that moment in The Simpsons where Homer sees it on a globe and pronounces it: “U R Gay.”

Uruguay gets the last laugh though, as this is one sexy bitch of a giallo slasher.

On a rainy day in Montevideo in 1993, a small single-screen cinema showing a low-end Frankenstein film (actually a real movie directed by actor Ricardo Islas, who plays the killer here) attracts a small number of punters: A couple on a first date, some teens off their trolley on vodka, the Brooke Shields-a-like girl one of them was lusting after on the bus, and a young boy who has snuck in.

the last matinee 2020

Projectionist’s daughter Ana has come to relieve her overworked father, packing him off in a cab and babysitting the reels while studying, much to the annoyance of night manager Mauricio, who’s not paid enough to care about throwing out an angry homeless guy escaping the rain.

Regrettably for all of these people, a slicker-clad lunatic with a bag of grisly tricks has also crept inside and makes quick work of locking them in. He then sets about killing those inside one by one to take their eyes and add them to a jar for later snacking. Eww. There’s a brutal throat-cutting while the victim is puffing on a cigarette, resulting in smoke exiting the next wound in a gruesomely artistic way; two kids making out are skewered together in an eternal kiss, as well as death by projector.

the last matinee 2020 luciana grasso

The simplicity of the plot is one thing, and some of the characters’ names aren’t ever mentioned, but if you’re looking for a film that revels in its aesthetic details – this is it. Almost comic book-like shots play out as the killer hones in on his victims, with 80s-style fragmenting of the space beforehand, daring us to guess where he is, when he will strike, and what he will do.

A great scene utilising this approach occurs when a bored Gabriela decides to make the movie going experience more interesting by giving Horacio an impromptu hand-job; elsewhere two teens are sharing a tentative kiss; the on-screen tension is building…; who will the killer take out? It’s a beautifully conducted sequence, shocking and even a little bit sad.

the last matinee 2020

Ana eventually discovers the killings, although it’s timed nicely with the celluloid breaking and what she believes to the audience booing over the incident is actually someone being knifed to death. From there the survivors try to fend off the killer and raise the alarm. Surprisingly, they get through to the cops for a change, but they also fall foul of the Bad Choice trap where they have the killer out cold but decide to flee rather than bludgeon him to death with the weapon in their hands. It’s a slasher film though, do you really want sensible decision making?

Contenti’s attention to visual detail is the Chef’s Kiss USP of The Last Matinee, truly not the first slasher flick set in an underattended movie theater, but by far the best looking. Almost every frame feels considered and created rather than just cut-in, every shot composed rather than pointed-at-and-shot. The result is an impossibly handsome piece of horror cinema, and the comparable lack of characterisation lends itself well to the bolt-from-the-blue nature of the killer’s attack on a bunch of strangers.

the last matinee 2020 ricardo islas

Beautiful horror.

Below Duck

wreck 2022

WRECK

3.5 Stars  2022/272m

Director: Chris Baugh / Writers: Ryan J. Brown & Ibrahim Salawu / Cast: Oscar Kennedy, Thaddea Graham, Harriet Webb, Louis Boyer, Peter Claffey, Anthony Rickman, Warren James Dunning, Miya Ocego, Alice Nokes, Amber Grappy, James Phoon, Ali Hardiman, Ramanique Ahluwalia, Donald Sage Mackay.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “The fraternisation clause – you penis flytraps have blown it.”


A few years back my parents reached the age where they traded in package holidays for cruises, and so I’ve been regaled by many-a-tale of room upgrades, rough seas, singers I assumed had died years ago, and what sounds like a median patron age of 69. Hearing this, I wondered how it would be if a psycho blew a fuse and decided to start hunting victims aboard. And here we are! Steer carefully around some spoilers!

A spectacular opening serves us the usual babe-in-peril scenario, with a young woman chased through a series of corridors by a maniac …dressed as a duck! Girls Nite Out eat your heart out. A rapid chase eventually shows our fleeing victim is aboard a huge floating hotel at sea. When cornered, rather than suffer being stabbed, she flips off the killer and throws herself overboard.

wreck 2022 duck killer

Some time later, her younger brother, Jamie Walsh (a thoughtfully named combo of Ms Curtis and Elm Street 2‘s Jesse) signs up as a sort of all-jobs lackie, taking the identity of lovelorn Cormac who, unknown to Jamie, has also decided to come along, to win back his girlfriend Rosie. While Jamie works shit jobs and befriends sarcastic Vivian, he looks for clues as to Pippa’s disappearance, knowing there’s more to it than the official explanation offered by the cruise line.

When his initial suspect also meets the business end of the duck’s knife and is thrown into a pool, Jamie confides in Vivian his true reason for being there and the two play detective, with some help from cabin-bound Cormac, and fellow crewmember Olly.

wreck 2022 thaddea graham oscar kennedy

After the slasher-heavy first episode (of six), Wreck sets a new course for a while, focusing in on the drug racket aboard the ship, with employees smuggling and dealing to colleagues and guests alike. Jamie suspects one of the officers but keeps getting stonewalled. Meanwhile, Vivian falls into an awkward relationship with first class rich girl, Lily.

Crew disappearances continue, explained away by the no-nonsense chief officer, Karen, who has no problem threatening jobs when the questions get too close to a possible cover up. Come the penultimate episode, the duck has all but been forgotten and Wreck becomes a kind of Hostel-at-sea, as it transpires first class guests have, as part of their package, the ability to pick and choose a low-rung crewmember to hunt in a number of scenarios in hidden parts of the ship – the officers and purser all oversee it, the low-hanging fruit in the crew are purely expendable.

wreck 2022 danny

Despite this swerve from slasher shenanigans, Wreck‘s most appealing elements lie in character and witty dialogue, both of which are top drawer, with a pair of LGBTQ leads, where their sexualities are largely incidental in the grand scheme of things, allowing for Vivian to quip “A lesbian with a powertool – how original!” during a climactic fight scene.

The body count remains low and things end with a find-out-in-the-second-series revelation that, honestly, I saw coming to an extent, but it also saddles the whole thing with a slight sense of incompletion… but I’d love to spend more time in the company of these characters so it’s not worth getting irked by.

Next Stop: Boredom

terror train 2022TERROR TRAIN

2 Stars  2022/90m

Director: Philippe Gagnon / Writers: Ian Carpenter & Aaron Martin / Cast: Robyn Alomar, Nadine Bhabha, Matias Garrido, Corteon Moore, Tim Rozon, Mary Walsh, Emma Elle Paterson, Alexandre Bacon, Kenny Wong, Dakota Jamal Wellman.

Body Count: 6


‘Familiarity breeds contempt’ as the saying goes, and things don’t get much more familiar than remakes that opt for an almost shot-for-shot route of updating a ‘classic’. Is 1980’s Terror Train a classic? Outside of slasherdom, probably not, but for us? Yes. Yes it is. When 2008’s Train abandoned being a remake of it in favour of being Hostel-by-Rail, the door was left open.

That the plot is exactly the same at least saves me typing it all out again, but prank, Kenny, trauma, three years later, train. The only notable differences are that it’s a Halloween party instead of New Year’s, Carne is now a watchful older lady, and there’s a new character in the form of Sadie, a junior conductor of some sort, who does most of the walking up and down the train and discovering of bodies.

Because writers Carpenter and Martin (who wrote several seasons of Slasher between them) know that horror nuts will remember the twist, the identity of the killer has been changed as well, but with a reduced number of players, their identity isn’t too surprising once revealed.

The main problem with this made-for-TV redux is that it looks very made-for-TV, with watered down production polish, characters who, despite being based on their sympathetic former instances, are uninteresting and saddled with feeble dialogue (“I swear, I’m a good person!” squeals the heroine as the killer closes in on her), and just a disappointing cheapness that manifests with too few extras, making the party look lifeless and poorly attended.

Not awful, just pedestrian, which is kinda ironic given that it’s set on a train ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Abort

jeepers creepers reborn 2022

JEEPERS CREEPERS: REBORN

“Death gives it life.”

1.5 Stars  2022/88m

Director: Timo Vuorensola / Writers: Jake Seal & Sean-Michael Argo / Cast: Sydney Craven, Imran Adams, Peter Brooke, Jarreau Benjamin, Ocean Navarro, Matt Barkley, Dee Wallace, Gary Graham.

Body Count: 5

Laughter Lines: “How do you like those peepers, bitch?”


There’s a story to be told with this character – yet nobody seems to want to tell it.

A million miles along an empty road from the theatrical releases of the original and its first sequel in 2001 and 03, arguably Victor Salva’s plot to prevent his idea being turned into a series of diminishing returns by factoring in a 23-year gap between sprees hugely backfired – as the series has become just that.

After the infuriatingly pointless third entry ended with a flicker of hope it would garner enough interest for the next film to bring back Gina Philips as Trish, the rights to the franchise seem to have been pried from Salva’s grip (likely in light of his dodgy past), its budget slashed to ribbons, and consigned to circle the drain without a required shot of investment to be able to give fans of the originals what they want – answers.

jeepers creepers reborn 2022 dee wallace

Reborn begins much like the first film, with an old couple (Wallace and Graham) idling along a backroad who are briefly tormented by a creepy truck (albeit a different one) with the BeatingU plate, and soon after see the occupant tossing what looks to be a body wrapped in a sheet down a pipe. He gives chase, they evade and go back to the pipe… This then zooms out to be a dramatisation online, watched by Creeper-believer Chase, who, with his girlfriend Laine, is driving into Jackson, Louisiana, for a horror festival themed around the local legend. Curiously, the voiceover says the couple were never seen again – so how did the story of what happened to them even get out?

When they stop off at a curiosity outlet, the psychic woman who runs it senses Laine is newly pregnant and conspires to have the pair ‘win’ an escape room experience at an old plantation house where cloaked goths worship the Creeper. He, meanwhile, crawls from hibernation status and begins collecting new body parts from various schmucks who wander into the woods until he’s strong enough to hunt the group who get locked in the house with him.

jeepers creepers reborn 2022 imran adams peter brooke

The real villain here is budget, in that there clearly isn’t one with enough funds to show us the Creeper fly, or do much beyond walk around the set (the film was largely shot on soundstages in the UK) stalking victims like any other slasher maniac. The van is wheeled out for a couple of scenes, but barely registers come the end, by which point the overdose of kids-TV-show quality green screen has all but consumed any goodwill the film might’ve built up early on.

Salva’s past crimes – which notably pre-date even the first film – may have been his undoing, but at least the guy had a vision. In this wasteful state, it’s probably best to abort the series entirely.

Blurbs-of-interest: Peter Brooke was in Wrong Turn 5; Dee Wallace can also be seen in Halloween (2007), Dead End RoadScarPopcorn, and Red Christmas.

The End of an Era. Again.

halloween ends 2022

HALLOWEEN ENDS

2 Stars  2022/18/111m

Director/Writer: David Gordon Green / Writers: Paul Brad Logan, Chris Bernier, Danny McBride / Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Andi Matichak, Rohan Campbell, Will Patton, James Jude Courtney, Kyle Richards, Michael Barbieri, Karaun Harris, Michael O’Leary, Michele Dawson, Joanne Baron, Rick Moose.

Body Count: 18


The Final ChapterThe Final NightmareThe Final Friday - we’ve been here before, even more than once in the same series. It doesn’t feel that long ago (but probably is) that Halloween H20 was supposed to be the closing word on Michael Myers. But it made bank, so he regained his severed head, but the series soon died again.

The second reboot, taking the series off into its fourth possible timeline, in 2018 was also supposed to be the last one. It was fine, flawed here and there, but carried an aroma of crispy fried finality. It made bank, so suddenly two further sequels were announced. 2021’s delayed Halloween Kills delved deep into fan service and then some weird allegory around vigilante mobs. Laurie didn’t share a single scene with Michael – it just… strange, but housed a couple of decent scenes to just about earn a pass.

Ends though… My, my, my where to begin? Big spoilers ahoy. Well, it begins a year later – Myers is AWOL, Haddonfield has become a bit of a depressed state where everything gets blamed on The Boogeyman or his legacy. Into a simple babysitting gig walks Corey, a slightly dorky student, who replaces the unwell first choice to look after rich kid Jeremy, whose pranks ultimately lead to the kid falling to his death.

halloween ends 2022 michele dawson

Three years later, Corey is a social pariah, hated by the locals and wasting his potential. He runs into Laurie when she wades into a confrontation with some entitled douchey teens and introduces him to Allyson, with whom Corey instantly sparks, their mutual sadness connecting them at an unseen level. Laurie soon sees a darkness in Corey that reminds her of you-know-who, threatening her new found Zen outlook on everything.

When Corey meets you-know-who, subsisting in a sewer pipe, instead of becoming another victim, they too have a meeting of the minds and embark on some bizarro twin-killer spree, taking out those who have wronged Corey in some way. Stranger still, the murders seem to go totally unnoticed, and when Corey decides his own scarecrow mask isn’t up to it, he steals Mikey’s and dons himself an official tribute act.

halloween ends 2022 michael myers

This is where Halloween Ends becomes ‘okay’ – in the same way Resurrection worked as a goofy, fun slasher movie if you divorced it from its forebears, Corey-as-Michael puts in a few decent kills, first offing Ally’s manager and the young nurse he’s sleeping with, then the douchey teens, his overbearing mom, and a shit-talking shock jock who sassed him a day or so earlier.

Knowing Laurie is trying to prevent Allyson from leaving Haddonfield with him, Corey’s final call is at their shared house and Michael, clearly just wanting his mask back, isn’t far behind. He and Laurie fight, and she finally gets him where she wants him, resulting in a town-wide procession to rid themselves of the Myers curse once and for all. And the ending is final. It has to be… If we get Halloween Re-Resurrection in four years, fuck knows how they’ll find a workaround to explain this one.

halloween ends 2022 jamie lee curtis

Jarring tonal shifts have plagued this new trilogy, from ballistic body counts, overly sadistic murders, that ‘Evil Dies Tonight!’ nonsense, and now the new Yoga-Laurie, although her early scenes just hanging out with Allyson and Lindsay are probably where the film feels most relaxed and natural. It’s almost like a ‘Haddonfield’ TV series was condensed into two hours, and between the not-awful scenes of Kills and Ends, there could have been a decent last outing, but the whole 2018-22 reboot cycle has been the epitome of needlessness.

Look out for Julian and the reappearance of a character we thought was no longer even alive…

I never thought I’d say this of a JLC-starring Halloween movie, but this is the worst in the entire series. Remakes included.

Blurbs-of-interest: Michael O’Leary was in Fatal Games; Joanne Baron was in iMurders.

1 2 3 218